I live in the badlands. The word bentonite is oft-spoke. The clay is generated by the alteration of volcanic ash. The coulees I love are filled with it. The steep walls become slippery and dangerous to climb after a rain. Many a time have I slid down a hill, covered in the slimy mud. Until I became really ill, bentonite was just some “dirt” and an annoying aspect of the hills to be avoided after snowmelt or rainstorm. Now I eat the stuff (not straight from the coulee mind you).
After years of bloating, indigestion, hypoglycemia, and general bowel issues it was finally determined that infections were taking over my GI tract. These caused damage and wiped out most of the good gut flora. At the time I was placed on antibiotics and injections to kill the aggressive strep, staph, and klebsiella. Three months after that the infections were gone but I needed to replenish the good bacteria and help the gut heal. No easy task; especially after annihilating the gut with antibiotics. I took probiotic capsules to no avail. I ate fermented foods. This helped some. I took Coptis and chlorella. I cut out gluten, dairy, and sugar for a year. Still bloated and irritated. Hmmm…..
Then an increase of intensive treatment for Lyme caused neurotoxicity (read brain fog, anxiety, insomnia, muddled thinking, brain inflammation). Then I discovered bentonite clay as medicine. I ordered some green powder from France, a special clay just for my situation. The instructions said to take 1 Tbsp a day. Yeah right! If I have learned anything over the course of treatments it is to go slow and low. Low doses at a slow pace and work your way up. Thank goodness I knew this. I later found a blog where a person took the tablespoon each day for a week and ended up really sick and constipated. I started with ¼ tsp a day, and drank tons of water afterwards. I also increased fiber through crushed flaxseeds in a veggie juice. I felt fluish the first week. In my world it is called “herxing.” Then I bloated even more. By week three comfort came. The bloating went down and the inflammation reduced. Soon I was feeling lighter, and my brain began functioning better. Even my anxiety diminished. I increased the dose each week until week six where I was up to a full teaspoon. After six weeks things were much better. And now I only use clay for emergencies (pain attack, stomach ache, inflammation, toxicity).
The clay not only binds with heavy metals, infections, and toxins, but it replaces minerals that the body is missing. Some pregnant women crave dirt when they are nutritionally deficient. In India, women used to break and grind clay vases to eat while pregnant to replace iron and magnesium. I prefer clay to Cholestyramine simply because it does not deplete me. The pharmaceutical binder prescribed by leading Lyme specialists is important, and in most cases successful, but it caused me to become anemic and I was too nauseaus to endure it. The clay is soothing.
With the clay it is important to:
- Store it in a glass container. It will absorb toxins from plastics. And metal will throw off its electrolytes and magnetic pull.
- Stir it into a glass of clean water with a wooden spoon or glass spoon. Again, not metal which will deactivate its binding properties.
- I let mine sit in the water for a couple of hours. Sometimes longer. It is fine to just stir and swallow, but I find it becomes more powerful after being in water for a while.
- Drink lots of water and herbal teas on the day you take clay. Also add more fiber to your diet that day to help flush out the toxins. Remember, the clay is a binder not a flusher. It will draw all the infections and toxins out of your tissues but needs aids in flushing them out. You don’t want to reabsorb them because you become constipated.
- TAKE IT HOURS AWAY FROM MEDICATIONS. CLAY WILL ABSORB SOME OF YOUR TINCTURES AND PILLS SO DO NOT TAKE IT NEAR YOUR MEDS.
Do your own research on the benefits of clay and your own particular disease. Below are some blogs and websites that helped me. As always, speak with your TCM doctor or naturopath about it as well.